Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol.. XIV No. 13
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Before everything got parched down here (in our glorious summer) I managed to swipe a couple of Gardenias and one sprig of Gladiolus and another Reachable magnolias off one of my two huge trees; oh, and a blue Hydrangea (Spelling), They looked enchanting the twelve hours they lasted in the house. But it was worth it!
“For what is so fair as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days!” This was one of the several dozens or more poems, (at least, the worth-remembering lines)all of us were forced to memorize every week or so. I was always quite good at it, probably because I had to memorize my music before I would play it in chapel, or recitals. I seldom remember the poem it was from, or even the poet: Now that one (above) I used as part of a song, in my adaptation of The Canterville Ghost. Virginia is singing about the beautiful day, in England. She sings just this far (even though I did know the next few lines: “Then, if ever, come perfect days. Then Heaven tries earth, if it be in tune, and over it lightly her warm ear lays. Whether we look; or whether we listen, we hear life murmur, or see it glisten!” Another of my favorite “Poem Portions” is this; From The Chambered Nautilus; I’m too lazy to look up the poet. The part I remember is: “Build thee more stately mansions, O, my soul.” And there I get lost. But I do remember how surprised I was to learn what that poet had based his glorious poetry on: a common snail?
We seldom had to memorize more than a few lines, unless the poem was shorter. I suppose this was because we lived in a rural location, with schools that didn’t have the time to waste on such things as poetry! Yet every year that I have lived, as soon as the month of June rolls round, I pay homage to this lovely bit of poetry from my childhood.
My two all-time favorite quotations were from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “Water, water everywhere- and all the boards did shrink. Water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” And “I am the captain of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Who wrote these? I believe this title was Invictus (?) I am sure Peggy Griffen (who remembers every syllable she had to memorize; and in which grade! But unlike me, she didn’t have to play on recitals!)
I found the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, very romantic, and full of musical possibilities, yet I never set any of their works to music. I found my partner when I met Eugene Walter, just after Hurricane Frederick had paid Mobile a visit. When I first met him (at a concert by the Mobile Symphony) he was introduced to me by my fellow piano teacher and good friend, Mary Jane Scruggs. I mentally noted several things about him
I instantly disliked him! He spoke too softly, and seemed too utterly out of place, to me. Then, as Mary Jane began telling me about the “Supper” she had been invited to, at his little cottage ( he was allowed to stay in a sort of cabin (free of rent) until he died, and they were having a ball. Later, Mary Jane told me the true story of the evening (nothing like their mutual agreement of the subject) laughing the entire time: She said he had served a Patent Leather Pie, composed of the peeled black skins of Eggplant) and a Chicken dish, that he admitted had come from his neighbors’ garbage pail! He had supposedly won a prize for writing two cookbooks that were published by no less a company than Time Life. But the simple truth was that when he paid for all that Jim Bean whiskey that he was addicted to, and bought enough cat food to feed his army of cats (he had a dozen House Cats: who tore up everything he owned, and all of then were un-neutered, which meant the house always had that wild smell of
“Cat spraying”. There were again as many, who were relegated to the screened back porch of thirteen to nineteen more. And then, he felt he had to feed the remainder of the uncivilized-world of strays. That kept him (for all purposes) hopelessly in debt.
Let me say here and now, that the two best meals I was ever able to get down, were a simple chicken, placed in his oven, seasoned to a turn, and served with plain white bread and wine! The other was a late snack after seeing Carmen, the night before I had my first stroke. Because he was late when I drove by to transport him to the performance, and we were both about to perish from hunger, When I got him home, he shaped two hamburgers from some ground beef, and had plenty of chopped onions, Ketchup, mustards and mayonnaise with which to fill our real hamburger buns! That hamburger was as good as any I ever tasted!
Ginger and Trudy
Ginger walked gingerly (how else) on the seat, going from my lap to Janet’s. She was beside herself as it was the first time she had ridden in an automobile: she was not quite sure that she liked it. But she finally decided to make the best of a hopeless situation.
When we drove into the yard, Ginger stood up on my leg (Janet was driving) as if eager to see where she was being taken. I took her in my arms, and walked with her to the back door. By the time I got the door unlocked, she was getting restless- but never did she try to get down out of the safety of my arms. Trudy came to the back door, when she heard me opening it, and I pushed her back, to keep her from escaping. Little did I know that she has never shown the remotest interest in ever escaping from her home or her Daddy!
Her meeting with her new “sister” was unbelievably pleasant (and made me dare to hope that Trudy’s attitude about other pets was finally showing a lot more positive.) They never reached the playfulness of Trudy and Chipper; but that may well have been because Trudy was already showing signs of slowing down and accepting her fate more amicably.
Ginger adapted to her new environment, which naturally thrilled me to pieces! I could hardly wait for me cat lover friends to come over to get acquainted with her. And just as I felt they would do: they all fell madly in love with her at the first meeting. I even wrote the lady who had sold her to me, that is I had traveled the entire world over, and paid a million dollars for Ginger, it would be worth even more than that to me. And each night, when I say my prayers, I always thank God for sending me the most wonderful cat I have ever seen: and telling Him that He definitely saved the best for the last, in my situation! And that is exactly how I feel about this furry little charmer: my life without her would be meaningless and boring; as it is, if I see her a thousand times a day, she always brings a smile to these old lips. In a word, I adore her! (Editor’s note: this segment should have been included in that particular bit of Ginger’s original “Home Coming”, but I decided to send it on, anyway.)
Next week: Ginger’s first hair-trimming!
“I gave my cat a bath the other day. He just sat there.Actually, I think he enjoyed it. It wasn’t much fun for me, though. The fur kind of stuck to my tongue,”
Citizen Kane (RKO, 1941)
We were still living in Richton when this world famous film played at my sister’s Baroness Theater. I had printed on each of the window cards we used for bigger movies, that it had won the Academy Award for 1940. It had not, I just got confused when the Times Picayune said that it had won cinema’s greatest honor. No, it was totally snubbed by the Academy of Motion Pictures---but they soon changed their appraisals.
I used a printing set bought for only my exclusive use: I was given the task of writing the theater’s program for the week (The Richton Dispatch went to press on Thursday nights, and was in the Friday mail). Printing on the window cards the Baroness Theater and when a film would play there. I loved my “Job” and certainly felt my importance. It almost killed me when we moved back to Ellisville the year after Pearl Harbor! I hated Ellisville, for the longest time. We all missed our great friends we had to leave!
I have never changed my opinion of that first viewing: I was bored out of my skull and found it the longest drawn-out film in history. I did like most of the stars, who were totally unknown to me (or anyone in Richton), These included Orson Welles, himself; Joseph Cotton, with whom he made several films, including The Third Man,
Old Movie Trivia Quiz for June 23
1. Who played Citizen Kane in the film of that name?
2. What actor (first seen in the above) was in The Third Man?
3. Who was the male star in The Third Man?
4. Where was the climactic scene (a Ferris wheel) photographed? It is a world Capital.
5. Who produced RKO’s Little Women in the 1930s?
6. What Oscar winning composer won the 39 award for the best music for a movie?
7. Selznick made Portrait of Jenny, with this same male star (question 2, above) and what beautiful actress?
8. What unusual camera work (seldom used) was used in Portrait of Jenny and The Picture of Dorian Gray?
9. What MGM starlet, sang about a “Poor Little Yellow Bird”, in The Picture of Dorian Gray?
10. This actress, who never got a leading role from MGM in all of those years, begin winning Tony Awards for her musical performances.
Quiz (June 15) Answers
1. Lionel Barrymore played Dr. Gillespie in the Dr. Kildare series.
2. Dr. Kildare supposed to marry, Nurse Mary, as played by Lorraine Day.
3. Lew Ayres was Dr. Kildare in the movie.
4. MGM had Jeanette McDonald’s sister, played the Telephonne Operator for Blair General Hospital, throughout two decades.
5. Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in the series of Universal films of the 1940’s.
6. Professor Moriaity is the name of the enemy of Sherlock.
7. George Sanders was the original Simon Templar in the Saint series?
8. Roger Moore, played the Saint also and also had a stab or three at playing James Bond.
9. Roger Moore, played The Saint, as well.
10. Tom Conway was The Falcon, in RKO’s series of the 40s
George Sanders (again) was one of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s many husbands, committed suicide; and left a note saying he did it because he was bored!